Sunday, 13 May 2018

A Nikko Dress and a Nikko Top

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Dress in Arctic Blue Marle Rib Knit from The Fabric Store

I'm increasingly finding myself making at least two or three iterations of a pattern that works for me! Ive got two finished projects to share with you today, both from the same pattern which has fast become my go to for a quick and satisfying knit project that is a really handy addition to my wardrobe. I'm a big fan of the True Bias pattern range; Kelli's style really resonates with me and many of her patterns suit my lifestyle. They're really practical wardrobe staples which still feel 'designed' and on trend. I've made five Ogden Camis to date! When the Nikko Dress & Top was released earlier this year it grabbed my attention as being comfortable and easy to wear but also great fun to style. The pattern comes with variations for either a top or maxi-length dress with side slits and either option can be made with or without sleeves.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Top in Fuschia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

In a similar way that the Ogden is a great stash-buster for woven fabrics, view A of this pattern is a great way to use up those 'less than a metre' pieces of knits. I wasn't sure how this style would suit me so I started off with this sleeveless top variation so I could test the style and fit without wasting too much time or fabric. I managed to squeeze this out of the fuschia merino jersey I had left over from my winter Kielo Dress. Just today I made a second merino version in a gorgeous teal as I managed to squeeze the pieces out around a long Blackwood Cardigan I was cutting earlier in the week. As well as not taking much fabric it is a super speedy sew; I think I got the teal one sewn in less than two hours this afternoon. The merino is a great match for the top despite being a little on the lightweight wide compared to the pattern recommendations. It has great recovery and presses well so is easy to manipulate into all those lovely shapes.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Top in Fuschia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

As I wasn't sure how this would turn out I sort of whizzed through the construction without thinking too much and now I'm kicking myself for not doing a better sewing job as it has turned into one of my favourite tops - especially to wear with high waisted trousers like the Flints I have on here! I've since gone back and reinforced the neck stitching and twin needled hem by using some Maderia Aeroflock thread in the bobbin which has a little stretch in and is super strong. The neck is the one area that you really want to make sure your stitching has plenty of give in as that neat little neckline has to stretch quite a lot to get over the head. I sewed both the top and dress up using my regular knit construction method of short and narrow zigzag stitch on the machine and finishing with the overlocker. I twin-needled the hem on the top so it would stretch but just straight-stitched the dress hem as it doesn't need to stretch and was and meant I could simply pivot around the corners when finishing the side splits.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Top in Fuschia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

Despite appearing to be a simple design there are lots of carefully considered elements to it which I love. Both the slightly cut away shape of the armhole and the knee length side slits are so on trend right now but so easy to wear. One thing to note is that the shape of the armholes do require a careful bra choice; it doesn't need to be strapless but a couple of mine won't stay hidden. My favourite design element is the mock turtleneck and the way it is cut. It is slim and elegantly shaped and the perfect height. Its cut so it sits close to the neck but you don't feel constricted or irritated by it.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Top in Fuschia Merino Jersey from The Fabric Store

For the dress I used this Arctic Blue Marle Rib Knit from The Fabric Store. It is a cotton modal blend with a quite surprising weight and drape to it as well as PLENTY of stretch across the grain. I haven't had much chance to work with ribbed knits as yet but have been really drawn to them recently. It gave me a bit of trouble which I'll get into in a moment, so I'd really appreciate any rib knit sewing advice you might have! Despite the sewing challenges it presented it does wash and press really beautifully thanks to the cotton content. Plus the rich blue colour is stunning, especially in the marle effect.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Dress in Arctic Blue Marle Rib Knit from The Fabric Store

I cut the size 6 at the bust and waist and graded out to an 8 at the hip for both garments which is larger on top than my measurements but I was wary of it looking snug. This has worked out great for the top in the fine merino jersey but not so well for the ribbed dress. The pattern does state that the top is more fitted and the dress cut straighter and I do like that the dress doesn't cling around the hips of stomach. I don't feel self conscious at all in this as I do in some other knit designs. However I do feel like fairly heavy weight of this ribbed knit is causing it to hang in a strange way away from the body and not skim the figure as it does in Kelli's samples. I'm not sure if this is to do with too much ease in the design or the less than springy recovery of this knit. Whilst you don't want a 'clingy' knit for this style you want a fabric which will hold a form. It perhaps feels like I should have gone down a size to compensate for the stretch of the rib and I think the size I make next time will depend on the elasticity and weight of the fabric I choose.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Dress in Arctic Blue Marle Rib Knit from The Fabric Store

I've used this ribbed knit before to make a Renfrew Tee and found it quite challenging to work with. The ribbed nature of the knit makes it quite easy to stretch out as you sew so I ended up with wavy hems on my tee. To combat this with the dress I used strips of 'Steam A Seam' to fix the hem in place before topstitching. You stick the hem in place with this tape and then press it with a warm iron to secure and this stopped this area stretching out as it ran through the machine beautifully. A stretched and wavy hem would have ruined the feature of those lovely side splits! I was also worried about stretching out the armholes so lowered the pressure of my presser foot and took it nice and slowly, being careful not to tug the fabric and allow the machine to pull it through evenly.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Dress in Arctic Blue Marle Rib Knit from The Fabric Store

I was worried about the rib knit being very bulky around the armholes so used some leftover merino scraps for the armhole binding. The method given for this in the instructions is straightforward to achieve and gives a lovely neat finish but is not particularly delicate as you wind up with three seam allowances enclosed within the 'binding'. Be sure to grade them down generously and give them a good press. This is the most time consuming part of the construction as the visible stitching requires accuracy but a beginner could easily manage with a bit of patience.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Dress in Arctic Blue Marle Rib Knit from The Fabric Store

That's about all there is to say about these two; lovely to make and lovely to wear! You can definitely expect to see more of these particularly a sleeved version or two later in the year. If you'd like a peek at my teal version of the top I'm sure I'll be wearing it for Me-Made-May at some point in the coming week so keep an eye on my Instagram Stories!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: True Bias Nikko Dress in Arctic Blue Marle Rib Knit from The Fabric Store

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12 comments:

  1. All beautiful Nikkos on you but I wasn't convinced about myself :) I love her Ogden however and have made 3 - I'm sure I'll be making more as well. Love that pattern!

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    1. O yes the Ogden is a trooper! Works in so many fabrics and with so many other garments in my wardrobe
      I love this pattern too. Thanks very much for the kind comment!

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  2. Wonderful makes as usual! You look stunning in the dress, it’s so elegant! I also love the colour of the top and the Flint culottes your wearing it with.

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    1. Thanks so much! It is taking a bit of getting used to as the style is quite different for me, something about the drama of the length with slits, high neck and no sleeves!
      I love those Flint trousers so much!

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  3. Both the top and dress look great on you! Lately I also tend to make multiple versions of a pattern I like. The other day I used a new pattern and it ended up kinda crappy so I was like "I'll just go back to one of my tried-and-true patterns" for the next project :p

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    1. If it ain't broke don't fix it right?! I love going back to a pattern that has worked out well before as it is such a relaxing sewing experience!
      Thanks very much

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  4. These are great Fiona. Lovely on you. I have worked with a few rib knits and hate them. Which is why I haven't bought this pattern..... Also because when it's old, i want sleeves, and when it's not, a high neck will kill me! But in a country with central heating, they're great. I always loved this style.

    I recently made a couple rib knits from my stash. One was a cotton/ wool/elastane mix with great recovery which worked really well for the cowl front dress from Daughters of Style. That went to big sis. Then I had a wool mix rib which had very little elastane. I tried to make a swing dress - a big four pattern, i forget which - and, just like Topsy, it grew and grew. Clear elastic in the shoulders, bias cut strips of interfacing round the neck - nothing helped. Anyway, that went to middle sis who's bigger than me. I am now totally put off buying rib knits unless I can actually see them and test them!

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    1. Yes I must admit the weather may prevent me from wearing these as much as I want, but I think the not quite summer temperatures we are getting now are ideal!
      Good to hear that you too have had the same trouble with rib knits, I think they are probably one of the most difficult fabrics I am yet to deal with which is surprising! If I use one again in future I'll definitely investigate properly in person

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  5. So glad you showed the binding - I love this pattern but have held off so far as I didn't like the bulkiness of the armhole bindings. I wondered if it would be possible to do them differently so it's great to see that you have managed it :)

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    1. Yes you need to be careful that things don't get to thick in that area so I would very much recommend using up a scrap of a fine knit in your stash for the binding if you are worried that your fashion fabric might be. Make sure to grade those seam allowances generously and you should be fine!

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  6. Love this outfit!! The dress is so cute!!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!